On weekends, my Mom would make something nice for the family. Often, and I used to wait for them, it used to be peanut chikkis. What are chikkis, you ask?
Chikkis are caramelized peanut squares. Sweet and sinful and crunchy. Only my Mom used to call the "badamer takti" or something equally tooth-breaking. It's only after I went to college in Pune that I discovered "chikkis". Lonavla was famous for them, and they made it out of everything: almonds, cashews, chick-peas, pistachio, coconut... you name it. I tried them but they weren't quite the same. You see, they used jaggery or some other syrup. There were too many nuts and flavours...
The best chikkis, in my humble opinion (of course) are the simple peanut ones that my mother used to make: a slice of a Sunday afternoon at home.
Here's a simple recipe:
- 500 g peanuts
- 400 g sugar
- Butter: to grease a tray
- Skin, roast and coarsely crush peanuts. That means dry roast the peanuts, crush under a rolling pin, blow away the skin over the kitchen sink!
- Heat sugar with 1/2 to 3/4 cup water till thick.
- Boil syrup till it caramelizes into hard crack consistency (this means that the syrup will form thick, "ropy" threads as it drips from the spoon. The sugar concentration is rather high now, which means there’s less and less moisture in the sugar syrup. A little of this syrup dropped into cold water will form a hard ball. If you take the ball out of the water, it won’t flatten. The ball will be hard, but you can still change its shape by squashing it.
- Add peanuts and mix thoroughly
- Grease a tray and spread the mixture on the tray
- Roll flat into 1 cm thickness
- Cut into squares and store in an air-tight container, they stay for a while unless you have hungry teenagers at home like I do!
Go on, try it sometime, I promise you can't stop at one!